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Indulás: 2005-12-26
 
THE BORSAI-PASS

THE BORSAI-PASS

As we mentioned, the Árpád-line was composed of a chain of valley blocks, so the defence of the Carpathian Mountains was organised in the valleys, running towards the inner regions of the country.  However, there was an exception, that being the fort built up on the Borsai-pass.  The valley behind the pass would have been suitable for fortification, but there was an even more suitable place for defensive fights: the Priszlop-Mountain just behind the frontier line where the road leads to the pass.  The supply-line could also be easily organised from the direction of Borsa, or else with the help of a local railway line running in the valley of the Vasér stream.

The Military Archive’s material relating to the construction and to the battles of this fort is piecemeal.  Those who still remember those days are becoming fewer and fewer.  Only a few former soldiers, fighting there once, felt the urge to write memoirs.  Luckily, there are some exceptions. For example, Captain Gábor Éltető, commander of the 33rd Frontier Guard Marauding Company, left behind valuable material in the collection of studies of the Archive of Military History.117  His memoirs also give us a picture about the life of the marauding frontier guard companies serving in close co-operation with the fort companies.

The 33rd Frontier Guard Battalion and its marauding company were transferred by train from its station in Nyírbéltek to Beszterce on 2nd November.  The bulk of the battalion got off at Beszterce, but the marauding company was sent further, to Borgópund, where they arrived and spent the night on 3rd November.

The commander of the company, Captain Gábor Éltető, drove up to the Borgói Pass in order to discuss the relief. The hand-over and the take-over began on the following day and finished with the installation of three officer sentries,  and then the company from Baja which had served there previously marched off.  The rainy season had already begun weeks before the arrival of the company, and it was still drizzling.  These were the circumstances in which the company settled on a 90-kilometre long frontier section from the Kelemen Alps to the foothills of the Radnai Alps.

In 1943 the 33rd Frontier Guard Battalion was reorganised as a mountain fighter battalion, and because of this reorganisation the battalion went in advance of the marauding company.  At the same time with these events the 52nd Frontier Guard Marauding Group was formed.  Its organisation developed in this way:

Commander of the Group: Lieutenant Colonel Imre Gróf,

His adjutant: Senior Lieutenant László Csernyánszky,

Engineering commander: Captain Ödön Dienes

Commander of the Nagyilva Fort Company: Senior Lieutenant István Szelényi,

Commander of the Óradna Fort Company: Senior Lieutenant József Várhegyi,

Commander of the 33rd Marauding Company: Captain Gábor Éltető.

At the end of August 1944 (after the Roumanian defection) the headquarters of the marauding company were transferred to Borgópund, and the company was subordinated to the 71st Frontier Guard Brigade which had been formed there.  The commander of the company got also the post of ammunition officer for the brigade.  The marauding company received the task of, in the event of an enemy attack,  initiating a fighting retreat westwards for the officer sentries.  These sentries were the 1st Officer Sentry, aiming across the mountains to Borgópund, and the 2nd Officer Sentry, heading for the fort company of Tihuca (with a view to joining the staff of the fort company after the retreat).   The direction of the withdrawal was Kosnó-Nagyilva for the 3rd  Officer Sentry, on the railway line, with the aim of joining the Nagyilva fort company.  The headquarters of the marauding company would become part of the general staff of the brigade.

“None of this went to plan because before the establishment of theHQ of the brigade (at the beginning of September 1944) Staff Colonel Ferenc Szász, commander of the 9th Brigade to whom we had been hitherto subordinated, held a conference for the officers in Beszterce.  He informed the participants of the dangerous situation which had developed through the rapid approach of the Russian forces who had reached South Transylvania after the Roumanian defection.  There was already fighting at the base of the Carpathians and Northern Transylvania would also become embroiled in the war soon.  The 9th  Brigade of the Hungarian Royal Army was to take up defensive positions on the territory of the Radna fort company, supported by the fort company.  Two Székely frontier guard battalions, the 22nd Battalion of the Hungarian Royal Army and its supplementary battalions, the 52nd Marauding Group and the 67th Marauding Group, were to be subordinated to the brigade, together with one fort company from Radna.

The 33rd Marauding Company got the assignment to move into the Radnai-pass on 11th September, where the three marauding companies would be reorganised as an assault battalion under the command of the 67th Marauding Group.  Staff Colonel Ferenc Szász continued to emphasise the gravity of the situation: “ the Russians attack with overwhelming force, only the most heroic steadfastness would stop them,  and if we cannot stop them, then our country is lost”.

The marauding company was transferred to its new post at 9 o’clock on 11th September.  We received orders from the commander of the 72nd Frontier Defence Group, Colonel Szentistvány, that at 4.30 we should be transferred on to Cibó and moved into defensive positions on the Capul Magura.  The 2nd  and 3rd Officer Sentry found defensive posts built in World War I.  They restored these positions.  There was the edge of a dense forest about 20-30 metres from them.  This forest stretched down to the main road in the valley.  The mountain sloped  gently down to that road.  The Capul Magura was a rocky peak, with a well-built tactical headquarters,  but of course, its roof was missing.  The positions were also quite usable.  The positions of the 3rd Officer Sentry were constructed for perpendicular defence.  The disadvantage of both posts was that the edge of the forest was 20-30 metres from them, so the foreground was unobservable.  There was a sloping grassy waste behind the post.

However a forest ran down to the foot of the mountain  about 100 metres behind the Magura.  The cookhouse was in this forest, the train was in the valley at the high road.  A German artillery observation point was also constructed at the positions of the 3rd Officer Sentry.

 The staff of the officer sentries numbers about 60; of these 10 people were the personnel of the train and the cookhouse.  However, the problem was not the number of  staff,  but our almost negligible  firepower.  Each officer sentry had one light machine-gun at their disposal, so the company had three light machine guns altogether and no submachine-guns.  Despite such insignificant firepower at its disposal this company had to move into defensive position over a fairly wide area.  I received no information about the enemy, and it was so foggy for two days that we could not even survey our surroundings.  I knew only this about the defence system: a Székely frontier guard battalion defended on my left, one and a half kilometres from us.

We did not observe any enemy activity between September 15th -20th 1944.  When the fog cleared I sent a reconnaissance patrol 5-10 kilometres every day to survey the terrain in front of my position.  In order to get acquainted with the terrain I myself also walked on the eastern wooded slope every day.

The enemy approached the north to south running high road to the east on 20th September.  On the 20th and 21st the German artillery fired continuously at the area in front.  A few mortar shells hit the positions of the Székely frontier guard battalion north of us on the 21st.   The effect of the enemy’s fire was that the whole battalion abandoned the position and rushed down into the valley facing us.  First I thought that they were going to lunch, although I had never seen them that ravenous before.

Soon I got the command to send some reinforcements to where the battalion had disappeared, and at the very least to the territory of the Magura 1566 triangulation point.  This order upset all my chances for defence.  I could only operate only with the 1st  Officer Sentry, which was in reserve.  I sent them to the Magura with the command that most of them should move into a position on the Magura (Rocky Peak) and the remainder should take position south of the peak.   Their task would be observation and the protection of the left wing of the company.

The Magura was well visible from my stronghold, so I could show Ensign Imre Éber the area of his assignment. He set off with the 1st Officer Advance Guard and reached his defence zone  without meeting the enemy.  The defensive sector of the company was stretched to more than 2 kilometres.  No sooner did the outpost of Imre Éber move into its new position than the enemy launched its attack.  A fierce  exchange of fire from infantry weapons could be heard north of the separated squad of the 3rd Officer Sentry.  However, I had the feeling that the next attack would be directed against the posts of the 3rd Officer Sentry, so I went there.  Having got there, I could see that the enemy had assaulted and occupied the positions of the separated squad.

The post of this squad was on the line of the flat ridge running northward, almost at the edge of the forest.  There was a grassy slope sloping down to the west.  The enemy immediately disappeared after the assault.  The positions of the 3rd Officer Sentry were soon under heavy trench mortar fire.  I took cover in an empty foxhole because a Russian sniper, who was hidden somewhere had noticed me through field-glasses and each movement of mine was accompanied by an targeted shot.  The mortar trench fire was repeated from time to time but the expected assault did not come.  Only the sporadic fire from the snipers showed the presence of the Russians.  This firing ceased only when darkness came.  Before nightfall I could still make out the shape of Imre Éber with my field-glasses on the Magura 1566 triangular point, at the foot of the rock, as he was walking up and down in front of the white background.  So the 1st Officer Sentry was still holding its position.

After it got dark I wanted to bring our positions into a more defensible state.  We therefore made preparations for a demolition from the demolition kit of the outpost and from heaps of stones which were piled up.  Our concept was that if the enemy broke out of the forest and launched an attack, the blown up heaps of stones would repulse the attack.  I prepared the soldiers serving in the position for repulsing a night attack.  I did not dare to return to my former tactical headquarters because I was afraid of the possible bad influence of my departure.  I sent the command for the preparation against a night attack by messenger.  It was good to stay there for another reason too: the German artillery observer had a telephone line.

I went around the defensive post several times at night.  I tried to motivate those of  my people who still had not smelled gunpowder.  The expected attack of the enemy with overwhelming force caused significant stress to everybody.  None of us could sleep.  Not only did the rank and file believe the situation hopeless but I did too.   Out total armoury amounted to one light machine gun and 30 rifles.  Maybe the blown up stones would give some protection, but a repeated assault would be fatal.

On the morning of the 22nd at dawn we got the order that the company had to pull back to the mountain ridge running east-west about 1 kilometre from the Magura, and that there we should move into a bolt position.  The withdrawal was not disturbed by the enemy.  The following order I got in the bolt position, at 3 pm., namely that we should march into the fort on the Radnai-pass.  I arrived via Ciba and Széplak at Borsaháza by 23rd at 3 o’clock.  Ensign Imre Éber and the 1st Officer Sentry remained in their position till sunrise, then they joined us”.

They set off from Borsaháza at 3pm. and arrived at the Priszlop peak, in the Radna fort at 7pm.  They got empty shelters for quartering.  The company rested on the following day.  Captain Éltető observed how the fort company operated in the shelter of the fort company HQ.  That evening he got an order that on the following day, the 25th ,at 7am., he would have to march with his company to the Sárkánytető 1892 vertical control point northwest from the Radnai-pass, to the marauding company which had just been formed there.

“At 11am the company arrived at the flat peak, covered by dwarf pine.  The commander of the group, Lieutenant Colonel Viktor Pacor, arrived with the nucleus of his staff at 2pm.  The 1st and 2nd Officer Sentry of the 2/2 Marauding Company arrived under the command of Senior Lieutenant Lajos Morgent at 6pm., the 2/1 marauding company remained in the fort.

Lieutenant Colonel Pacor, referring to his cardiac disease, reported that he was ill, and handed over command of the battalion to me.  He informed me that the battalion that had been formed would get the name of the 67th  Frontier Guard Mountain Fighter Battalion.  The 1st Company would be formed from the 2/1 Marauding Company, the 2nd Company from the 2/2 Marauding Company under the command of Senior Lieutenant Lajos Morgent, and the 3rd Company would be formed from my marauding company.  As I had to take over the post of Lieutenant Colonel Pacor, I assigned its command to Ensign Imre Éber, ensign in reserve.

At 1am. on the 27th a messenger arrived from the infantry commander of the 9th Brigade: “The 67. Mountain Fighter Battalion must immediately occupy the zone of the Timaticului 1937 triangulation point with the 33rd  Marauding Company and with two thirds of the battalion direct commands, and must keep contact with the Germans defending on Peak Ünőkő (2257 triangulation point).  I subordinate the 2/2 Marauding Company to the 2/1Fort Company.  This company must seize the Magura at Borsa.”

The command caused me some problems, because there were no direct commands for my battalion - I had only three grenade launcher barrels. We had neither machine-gun company, nor armour-piercing arms, nor telephones.  So I had to execute the task with the marauding company which had three light machine guns.”

The battalion set off towards its ascribed goal at 2 o’clock, without maps or guide, across the Priszlop, on an uphill mountain path.  They could not move on the ridge because it was within the enemy’s perception range and the enemy would immediately attack the target with mines.  So they got to the wooded mountain slope.  They had to find their destination in unknown terrain, in a forest.  As they did not know where the border of the fort was, nor how the fort was closed - by mines or high voltage barbed wire entanglement - they sent out a surveying patrol, but the patrol was so frightened by the task that if the commander of the company had wanted his company to advance, he would have had to go at the very front.

“I just began to doubt whether we were going in the right direction, when luckily we came upon the fort at the side which would face the enemy.  We did not hit any obstacle.  The train and the cookhouse marched to the Priszlop-peak through Borsafüred.  We departed from the 2/2 Marauding Company on the Priszlop, they joined the fort company.  We got guides who led my company into the earlier constructed, so called “bastion positions”.  As I had no maps and the whole mountain region was swimming in dense fog, we needed the guides. Visibility was not more than a few metres.  We arrived at the place shown by the guides, where the 2/1 Fort Platoon and a bicycle platoon of the 22nd Battalion were already in defensive position”.

Captain Éltető took over their command.  The built-up positions were situated above a precipice several hundred metres deep which curved northwards in a semicircle behind a rocky peak. There was a tactical HQ shelter 31 metres under the peak of the cliff and not far from it a shelter for the rank and file.  The bicycle platoon should have seized the 1937 and 2027 triangulation points and the road fork northward from it the day before, but they could not because of poor visibility.  Captain Éltető set them off immediately together with local guides.  Half of the company was posted beside the fort platoon, the other half left in reserve behind the strong point.  Telephone contact was established with the fort.

“It has been raining all day, just as it was yesterday evening, the raindrops are fine,  almost invisible, continual. Everything and everybody is wet through.  Our people are tired because of the unnecessary mountain climbing to the Sárkány-tető, the loss of meals, the returning at night only for another mountain tour the next morning. Hunger increases the despair caused by the foggy, rainy weather.  The trouble is that I can’t see anything in the dense fog,  I have no map, so I can’t even guess where I am.

 I got an order to relieve the fort platoon and the bicycle platoon and direct them into the fort.  As the fog began slowly to lift and since I had also got a map, I could identify where I was.  The Timnaticului 1937 vertical control point was still in front of us, but the patrol that I sent out to observe enemy movement was not there.  I reported the errors occurring during my the march there, and I informed the headquarters that I would lead a forced reconnaissance towards Timnaticului.

Ensign Imre Éber started climbing up to the almost sugar-loaf shaped mountain with two squads at 12.30 on the 29th   His task was to provoke fire from the enemy in order to establish the size of the occupying force.  They would try to seize the peak only if they did not find more significant enemy forces there.  The endeavour was supported by the descending fog.  They had to descend into a deeper valley in front of the mountain which had to be besieged.  When they tried to climb up on the hill the fog had already begun to lift, but the fairly steep climbe and the dense dwarf pine covering helped them move forward.

Approaching the trench entanglement around the peak they even threw hand grenades at the enemy.  This action provoked the fire of the enemy but it also made further advance impossible.  However, the attack had the expected result, 4-5 machine-gun or light machine-gun fire could be observed, and this meant a significant hostile force.  Imre Éber and his men returned unhurt under cover of the dwarf pines.  Not only did we observe the enemy but they also discovered us.  Sporadic trench mortar fire was the consequence of this, but it did not cause any injuries.

In the morning of the 30th, after evaluating the attack of the previous day, the commander of the 72nd Group, Colonel Szentiványi, gave an order to seize the Timnaticului peak.  The attack would be executed by a platoon, with artillery support.  I entrusted Ensign Imre Éber again with the execution of the order.  He attacked with two squads, outflanking the Timnaricului from west to south, the mountain was not so steep in that direction. Corporal Gálicz attacked frontally with a squad on the line of the attack of the previous day.  I planned that the main point of the attack should be the from the south.  The aim of the attack of corporal Gálicz was more to divert enemy fire.  The attack from the fort was led by department commander Artillery Major Andor Darnay.

He let me know when we were planning the attack that he could only fulfil his task with the coastal battery from World War I at his disposal in the fort because of the great distance.  As these guns were firing concentratedly at a low angle and as, according to the ranging, our position was just in the firing line, he asked me what he should do.  I answered that if the occupying force on the peak were so large that our attack was hopeless without artillery support, they should fire without hesitation and that we should keep our heads down.

The assault troops had to move into attack position by noon, and the artillery began to fire at the peak then.  The artillery really began to work at 12 o’clock.  We waited for the first shot with great excitement.  The beginning of the discharge was announced, we would know, when the shells flew over our heads or smashed into our positions.  Luckily, we heard the whistling of the shell over our head and we really did watch it with our heads kept low because we saw its dark spot not that far above us.  After a few minutes of ranging the fire hit the peak perfectly.

The unit attacking in front of us had difficulty moving into attack position because they got in range of the of the enemy’s machine-gun salvoes and could only advance with artillery support.  I should mention here that first they had to descend from 1600m to 1200m, and then go up again to the 1937 peak.  That would have been quite a good performance even for tourists.  We could not see the attacking group of Imre Éber from our position but they approached their attack position on sufficiently covered terrain.  The commander of the 72nd Operational Group, Colonel Szentivány, waited impatiently for the beginning of our attack.  I reported the difficulties and that I had no news about the bulk of the assault group which was to attack from the South, but to no avail.   He interrupted the artillery fire.  Later he allowed slow nuisance fire.

Ensign Imre Éber arrived with his troop at the attack position at the appointed time but first he, and then his deputy-commander, Sergeant Major Halász, got wounded in the course of an assault they launched from there, so the assault was halted.  The attack of Corporal Gálicz progressed forward very well using the blind spots caused by the steepness and the cover of the dwarf pines.  When the artillery fire ceased I organised a limited assault group because somebody also had to man the positions.  The aim of this group was to distract the enemy and above all direct the fire away from Corporal Gálicz’ squad.   The enemy believed that it was the main assault and showered the assault group organised for the limited attack with heavy fire, not paying any attention to Gálicz’ squad climbing up to the enemy’s positions.

Unfortunately the fire targeting those who launched the limited attack caused fatalities.   The commander of one of the squads, Corporal Sütő, was killed in action.  With this the limited attack was halted, but its goal was reached because the main assault group was already near the enemy positions.  The enemy only then noticed them, and wanted to direct the fire at them.  However, our soldiers were already in the range for throwing hand grenades.  After throwing their grenades, they jumped into the trench with a “Forward!” battle cry.  A bit later they also threw hand grenades into the positions above them and they captured those positions too.  Soon an other “Forward!” cry could be heard, this time from the south.

Because of the synchronised attack the Russians fled in panic.  Our troops, who captured the peak, observed the flight of 60-70 enemy soldiers leaving behind two of their dead.  The booty was one machine-gun, 4 light machine-guns, 1 heavy rifle and 4 submachine-guns.  The assault group had no other casualties than two wounded soldiers.  The peak was in our possession by 5 pm.  The enemy was fired at until they disappeared.  Corporal Gálicz deserved credit for the success of the attack.  I gave the command to Ensign Gáspár Szamosújvári to settle on the Timnaticului for all-round defence with three squads of the 3rd Officer Sentry, one of them was the light machine-gun squad.  I used the remaining unit of the 3rd Officer Sentry for the defence of the strong point because it had becomemore sparse.  I organised two defence groups.  One group defended eastwards, over the precipice, the other group settled in the northern, curving part.  During the attack the enemy kept our positions under heavy fire from trench mortars, the telephone line with the fort was interrupted several times.

On 1st October I received a report from Ensign Szamosújvári stating that enemy troops were assembling on the Mesterbérc ahead and in the valley north of this mountain.  In his opinion, there may have been several companies of enemy soldiers, and he asked for artillery support.  I tried to contact the artillery command by phone.  I only managed to get through to Major Darnay only half an hour of dialling.  Unfortunately my request was refused owing to a more important fire direction.  I could not get help from the brigade commander either.

Our horizon was limited because of the fog in the valley.  Our observer, sent out at 8 o’clock, reported that he saw an enemy column of 80 soldiers marching towards the Timnaticului.  Then I received the report of Ensign Szamosújvári saying that an enemy group of two companies had attacked him.  The request for artillery fire was refused again.  It’s a pity there were no signal devices with me with which to call them back if the situation had become hopeless.

The Russian assault, launched against the peak from the south, was stopped by defensive fire.  However, then the group which had been reported from the Mesterbérc also launched an attack.  The culminating point of the attack was at about 9 o’clock.  Gáspár Szamosújvári was killed in action, he got a bullet in his skull.  This fact sealed the fate of the defenders.  People could be seen everywhere rushing down from the peak.  I reported to the commander of the 72nd Operational Group, Colonel Szentivány, that the positions on the Timtaticului were overrun, and that the defenders had left their positions.  We got fire support immediately, but it was too late.

Slowly the survivors of our forced back units arrived at our strong point.  Then I realised what had happened over there.  At the same time as the occupation of the 937 peak, the enemy had placed our strong point under heavy fire from mine throwers.  Smaller units of the enemy, especially snipers, attacked us at 10 o’clock.  I sent an order to the reserve immediately to repulse the attack of the enemy.  They were to pull away from our positions to the southeast, attacking the enemy from the flanks.  I would support their attack with light machine-gunfire from the foot of the cliff.

The enemy fired at us not only with mine throwers but also with infantry armament, shooting at the cliffs.   The light machine-gun operator got a bullet in his skull, he was killed in action.  As the fort had not built any position up there earlier, it now became impossible to stay there for any longer.

I tried to organise the counterattack, when the two squads on the northern part of our strong point, which were slightly separated from the outermost part, panicked and fled.  As they said later, they believed that I had left my position too.  The assault of the counter-attacking part failed because they observed the cease of the light machine-gun support and meanwhile heavy trench mortar fire was being aimed at them, and they also saw some people running.  They began to pull back at about 11am.  Now I could only focus on holding our position as long as possible.  At about noon we were the only ones of the defensive sector of the company still in position.  This was not a large force either: sergeant major Orbán with a light machine gun squad, Corporal Sándor with is grenade launcher squad, and the nucleus of the staff of the 67th Mountain Fighter Frontier Guard Battalion.”

Captain Éltető reported the situation to the commander of the 9th Brigade, Staff Colonel Ferenc Szász . The Brigade Commander gave the command to hold on and promised help.  However later, as there were no forces at his disposal and bad communication lines also made quick support impossible, he let the captain decide on his own..  Captain Éltető reorganised the defence of the strong point.  He placed all the people in the northern, curving part with firing positions facing south.  He completely wound up the defence at the southern, rocky zone, because it was no longer possible to stay there.  So, as they could not get information on what was happening behind the peak, he based the defence on grenade launchers.  “There were enough grenades for it, we only had to take care of the heating of the barrels”.  They did not expect any attack from the east because there was a several hundred metre deep ravine.  As was proved to be the case later, their static counterattack prevented the assault of the enemy from the West.  Captain Éltető’s idea was that they should not allow the enemy to get to the rocky peak.  This task was ably solved by the grenade launchers.  Fortunately, the enemy did not attack, they waited for the expected withdrawal of the defending troops.

The centre interrupted telephone contact at 2pm., indicating that they had given them up.  Luckily, in spite of the increasing mortar shell fire, there were no injuries.  They were able to hold the peak with the help of Corporal Sándor and an observer hidden in the dwarf pine bush till 6pm, but then the situation became hopeless.  The grenade launchers began to run out of ammunition and the barrels also began to get too hot.  The stress on the soldiers became too great, so Captain Éltető ordered the withdrawal.

“One more short rapid-fire of the grenade launchers, and we jumped out of our positions at the same moment and ran south west to the fringe of the forest  about 500 metres away.  We had not got half way when the enemy began to fire at us.  We were lucky enough to reach the forest without injuries.  I would have liked to get out to the high road so as not to lose my way, but we happened to observe enemy movement there so we tried to get into the fort under cover of the forest trees.”

They arrived at Priszlop-peak at 11pm.  Captain Éltető immediately went into the fort command post and reported to Colonel Szentivány, the commander.  He found out that the other units of the company had already arrived before nightfall, and they were just discussing how the outposts of Captain Éltető should be saved.  Again they got lodgings in the empty shelters of the fort.

The construction of the “bastion-positions” of the fort was not finished because of the Roumanian defection.  In spite of the calculations of the inspectors and constructors of the bastion-position on the Béla-peak that the strong point was only exposed to attack from the north, the higher, rocky zone of the ridge sloping towards the north was not built into the defence system.  Thus the position was indefensible against an attack from that direction.  Had the marauding company had no grenade launchers the position would have had to be given up at  first sight of the enemy.  Captain Éltető, however, recognised the significance of the “pocket artillery” of his marauding company and used it effectively for closing fire on the side of the mountain which was indefensible by hand arms.

“Next day, 2nd October, I got an order that, after the distribution of lunch, I should seize the Birkástető.  Just before we started the order was changed, so my company was put into action to reinforce the right wing of the fort company in the positions already built-up.  The company moved quickly into the assigned positions.

On the 3rd I got a new order that the company would be the fort reserve on the territory of the Priszlop 1414 triangulation point.  We did not move into defensive positions, but moved into the unused shelters we had found there.  At the same time we were informed that the 2nd Company of the battalion (the 2/2 marauding Company) were in defensive positions on the Borsai Magura peak, and were continually skirmishing with the enemy.  The 1st Company (the 2/1 marauding company) was defending against fierce attacks from the enemy.”

The 67/3. Company remained the reserve of the fort until 12th October.  In the meantime they sent reconnaissance patrols into the territory south of the fort every day.  They discovered the positions of the enemy, which had the force of about a battalion, in the zone of the Timnaticului, i.e. in the zone of the peak they had left  not long before.  At the same time larger forces were advancing towards Ünőkő and Radnaborberek.  They could not see any preparations for an attack or any assembling of larger units from the south.

This time the fort came under heavy attack from the enemy.  A force larger than a division attacked the fort in echelons from the east and north-east  The commander of the fort company, Captain Endre Mosó, knew the terrain and the manoeuvring possibilities of his available firepower well.  He led his fort company, which had almost the force of a battalion, perfectly, according to the defensive plan which had in peacetime been well drilled into his people, and he drove back all the attacks of the enemy.  It happened sometimes that one of the strongholds of the fort could not hold on and that the defenders pulled backed into the shelters, but in the meantime the neighbours, i.e. the fire concentration of the artillery, drove the enemy out of its occupied positions and the defenders could recapture them.

Each position had telephone contact with the others and with the centre.  Thus everybody knew everything about all the manoeuvres of the enemy, and they could help each other if necessary.  The artillery commander of the 9th Brigade organised an artillery department from the coast-defence guns which had been inbuilt in the fort and used in World War I, from the mine throwers of the fort, and from the battery of the 22nd Battalion.  This artillery section also gave significant support to the fort defence.  The enemy could shake the bastion positions, but all efforts to pierce through the territory of the fort failed.

 

“I got the following command from the headquarters of the brigade on 12th October, 1944: “The brigade will give up the defence of the fort and pull back across Borsafüred towards Máramarossziget.  The 67th Battalion, under the command of  the 62nd Defensive Group, will begin the withdrawal together with the 67/3. company. The other companies of the battalion, on evacuating the fort, will follow the battalion HQ and they all will meet in Borsafüred.  Here the battalion will be formed during March, and afterwards it will march in column further on towards Borsa”.  I left the fort with my company before nightfall and waited for the other units of the battalion in Borsafüred.  The 67th Battalion was formed by midnight, as follows:

Commander of the battalion: Captain Gábor Éltető.

Adjutant: Árpád Bajkay, Lieutenant in reserve.

Supply officer: Captain Ferenc Havasi.

Quartermaster: Rezső Bognár,  logistics Lieutenant in reserve.

Commander of the 1. Company: Miklós Szentgyörgyi, Senior Lieutenant in reserve.

Commander of the 2. Company: Senior Lieutenant Lajos Morgent.

Commander of the 3. Company: Imre Éber, Ensign in reserve.

Commander of the heavy armament company: András Kunos, Lieutenant in reserve.

The heavy armament company got to us from the 22nd Supplemental Battalion.  We also got 4 mine throwers, 2 armour piercing guns and 2 machine guns.  The battalion had no engineers or signal platoons.”

The reason for the order to withdraw was not because of local failure.  As the Soviet troops gained ground on the southern flank of the front line, the military evacuation of the Székelyföld had to begin on 10th October.   The front line therefore had to be pulled back in line with the plans for evacuation.

 



117 Military Archives, No. 3282.

 

 
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